This blog covers weight loss a lot. In fact, scatology based fitness is what we are all about, but we don't often cover diet. Well, we have had the baby and so now it is time to reap the rewards.
Eating the placenta is known as placentophagy. It is practiced by most mammals in the animal world, including many primates. In 2004 we ate this:
The recipe I used at the time was of my own devising, but now I have this to deal with:
Now, as an added motivation to produce a culinary delight from this chunk of Jim's guts, I have vegan friends who have expressed an interest in trying it. I am not a doctor, but I rather fancy that this sort of protein is unlikely to have the most advantageous effect on the stomach of a long-term vegan, so I am going to research some recipes.
Placenta Spaghetti Bolognaise
The placenta weighs about 1lb, once one has cut the meat away from the membranes with a sharp knife and discarded the membrane.
The major stumbling block I have is that my children are all under six and need to go to bed relatively early, but the eldest is going to be at ballet class until sixish and I only finish work at half five. This means I need to stick to either some form of flambé or pan seared creation or go the whole hog and prepare a casserole on the night before for Jim to pop in the oven on the day. Casserole recipes, here I come.
Before we go any further, I think we need a gratuitous goatse shot of the frozen placenta, just to keep the b3tards happy.
First of all I need to get the main ingredient out of the freezer. It's always better to have your meat fresh, but with the newest Manley child being kept in the neonatal special care unit for a while, it was not practicable, so it needs time to defrost.
I eventually settled on making a variation on Mike Taylor's The Best Beef Casserole of All Time, the primary variation being that I would be substituting beef for human tissue. Mmm! Flesh!
There are certain other considerations to be included. Matthewparker is simply not going to eat placenta. There is no point pretending that he will, because he won't. I think I need a nice glass of wine.
Because of this I need to supply an alternate meal for him and also something for Rowan who is a lacto-ovo piscatarian and, for once, is more of an inconvenience than the vegans to cook for. Sausages and the George Foreman grill seem to be the answer. Veggie sausages for Rowan (since he has offered to supply his own) and Impala sausages for Matthewparker.
Now for the vegan side of things. To avoid using butter to grease the casserole dish I use Pure, which comes with a vegan logo, Omega 3 and 6 and a space hopper on the label. What more could anyone want from an edible grease? Well, tasting less revolting would be a start. My sister tells me that it's very nice once one gets used to it, but frankly I am damned if I want to. I'd rather gargle with lard.
We also cannot use most varieties of wine because, inexplicably, producers include animal products in them. I also eschew vegan stock (for much the same reasons as I would not normally buy Pure) in favour of bitter. I am not sure how vegan or not bitter might be, so I take special care to choose something which has ingredients I understand.
That all sorted (there is no problem with the onions, carrots and mushrooms that I can see) it is time to get the defrosted placenta out of the bag. Of course, if you want to look in more detail at these images, they have a click for big functionality, or you can have a perusal of my flickr stream.
As has been pointed out (apologies to Riverghost for behaving like the editor of Zoo or Nuts here), it's looking rather chuffed with itself.
It looks pretty much as it did when I last saw it, although I was somewhat distracted at that time. Remember the nice glass of wine you saw earlier? No you don't, you remember me saying I'd like a nice glass of wine. What you saw was a nice glass of Jim's blood. Lovely stuff!
Anyway, it's time to sort things out, so I drained the blood, as you can see, and rinsed off the placenta, ready to start butchering. That said, it looks fairly palatable just as it is, don't you think?
Either way, it's time to start getting the meat away from the gristle and tubes. The first job is to get the sack turned inside out so the meat can be seen, which, since there is already a large baby sized hole in it, is no problem.
We need to try and work the main body of the placenta away from the membranes of the sack. If you want to make jokes about the G-Spot then now is the time, it never gets old.
Once it is clear I can set about cutting the placenta away. Is it ironic that, having fed her for 9 months, the placenta, through Jim's milk, will be feeding my youngest again. No, I don't think it is. Never mind.
Once this is done I can finally begin to see proper meat. I know from past experience that the toughest bit has yet to come, but I am still excited to get this far. I am struggling with the mixture of photography and bloody hands now, but I can't let you down now.
The actual meat is very much akin to liver (to some extent the placenta serves a similar service, I suppose) but it is attached to the sack in small chunks, almost like pre-cubed meat seared to a pan.
These are soft, again much like liver, and so cutting them leads to waste and they need to be individually torn from the membrane, which takes a lot of time and a surprising amount of effort.
In amongst the meat are blood clots. Much as I enjoy black pudding, I think we have to draw the line somewhere.
Slowly we go from a complete, trimmed placenta
to a slack handful of waste
and a lovely bowlful of prepared meat
I suppose that we have time for one last gratuitous gore shot before I start cooking
Righty-ho. First grab a nice casserole dish. This was a wedding present from one of my wife's friends' mothers. I reckon that it probably came from Taunton.
As you can see, it has been greased, but not with butter, as mentioned previously. To this I added a small layer of carrots.
Then a layer of Onions (cut into eighths)
The main ingredient
another layer of carrots and some button mushrooms
Some more onions, chopped into eighths, and a good handful of herbs, predominantly oregano, parsley and basil
BEER! (this is getting dull now - I was going to make an animated gif of the casserole being produced, but I just couldn't be bothered in the end. Feel fortunate that I have already dropped five or six stages here)
Oh sod it, then I have a picture of the tomato purée on top and then the tomatoes (my 3 year old has grown quite a crop of tomatoes this year, so well done her) and then I added some pepper and called it a casserole.
So now I pop a lid on it, chuck it in the refrigerator to marinade and leave it for 20 hours or so. Lovely.
When I return to it everything is looking about as perfect as it could be. Jim puts it in the oven for 3 hours at about 140°C whilst I am still labouring away over a hot batch of fresh SEO. When I get home I put on some carrots (although not as many as I had hoped - I shall be boycotting the fruit and veg stall outside St George's market from here on in and suggest that you do the same) and cabbage and then our vegans arrive with a simply massive rhubarb crumble and a sackful of potatoes from their allotment. Logistically this is a major achievement since they have arrived on bicycles.
The spuds go in to boil, I top up the casserole with a smidgen of boiling water and I put on some impala and veggie sausages for the queasy. Where's the damned bottle opener?
The casserole is served. I am short of a chair - well the hell has that gone? I have to go next door to the student house to borrow one - they seem to want an invite, but I find myself disinclined to let on what it is I am having for dinner. Given that I am happy to tell the world I cannot explain this and will later make amends by giving them this url.
Please excuse the invisible children, but you can see that it was well received. In fact all we had left was potatoes at the end of the night. You can see Matthewparker here, clearly not eating placenta. I don't know, what sort of weirdo doesn't chow down on his friend's womb excretions, eh?
Here we can see why butter is better than other greases when it comes to being non-stick. There seemed to be a reluctance to suggest that the meal was anything but normal. Indeed there were many compliments on the cooking, where I expected squirming.
Our vegan friends enjoyed the meat and had no noticeable side effects. I had secretly sort of enjoyed the idea that, after nearly a decade without meat, the protein rush would mess with their bowels, but it was not to be.
I leave you with a photograph of the rhubarb crumble and the knowledge that I won't be doing this again for at least 3 years or so.
All in all, an excellent evening. A light liver taste, very palatable, both my children asked for seconds and Kate was almost aggressive in her demands for more of my wife's flesh. There's a video in the making if ever there was one.
Eventually we all wandered off, slightly drunk and full to the gunnels, a good time had by all.
Manley's Patent Spiced Placenta Fricassée
1 placenta (fresh or frozen)
2 large onions, cut into eighths
4 cloves garlic, crushed
4oz plain flour
tspn Thai 7 spice seasoning
1 cup water
Heat the oil in a flat bottomed pan
Mix the flour, salt and spices well
Cube the placenta, roll the cubes in the spiced flour and set it aside.
Once the oil is smoking hot, fry the onions and garlic for 2 minutes until they begin to brown
Add spiced placenta cubes and sear for a further minute.
Add water, a little at a time, until the placenta and onions are boiling in a placenta gravy.
Add barley if required, depending on number of guests.
simmer for 8 minutes or until done.
I served this with boiled potatoes, carrots and peas.
It was smashing.
1-3lb fresh placenta (must be no more than 3 days old)
1 green or red pepper (green will add colour)
1 cup tomato sauce
1 sleeve saltine crackers
1 tspn bay leaves
1 tspn black pepper
1 tspn white pepper
1 clove garlic (roasted and minced)
(Preheat oven to 350 degrees)
1. Chop the onion and the pepper & crush the saltines into crumbs.
2. Combine the placenta, onion, pepper, saltines, bay leaves, white and black pepper, garlic and tomato sauce.
3. Place in a loaf pan, cover then bake for one and a half hours, occasionally pouring off excess liquid.
4. Serve and enjoy!
1/4 cup fresh, raw placenta
8oz V-8 juice
2 ice cubes
1/2 cup carrot
Method: blend at high speed for 10 seconds. Serve. A tasty thirst quencher!
1 fresh, ground, or minced placenta,
2 tblspns olive oil
2 sliced cloves garlic
1/2 tspn oregano
1/2 diced onion
2 tblspns tomato paste, or 1 whole tomato
Method: use a recipe for lasagne and substitute this mixture for one layer of cheese. Quickly sauté all the ingredients in olive oil. Serve. Enjoy!
Placenta Spaghetti Bolognaise
1 fresh placenta,
1 tblspn butter
1 large can tomato puree
2 cans crushed pear tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
1 tblspn molasses
1 bay leaf
1 tblspn rosemary
1 tspn each of: salt, honey, oregano, basil, and fennel
Method: cut the placenta meat into bite-sized pieces, then brown quickly in the butter and olive oil. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 1-1.5 hours. Serve. Yummy!
It is worth noting that, in the UK, complaints about publishing documentaries about placenta eating have previously been upheld, which I think is worth being amused by.
Oh, and I didn't drink the blood.